Yes, our priority is to sustainably produce food, energy and building materials, but why not also offer education opportunities? With everything we do, fws considers the educational benefits to our residents and the local community.
We call them ‘appropriate solutions’ – and because our permaculture systems are appropriate to the local Tanzanian environment, we feel we have a responsibility to share them.
How do we share them? We have a diverse approach to spreading our permaculture knowledge. We now host two Permaculture Design Certificate courses (PDCs) a year.
We are proud to say that in the spring of 2013, with the help of our friends at PRI Kenya we hosted the first ever Swahili PDC, which will now be held every Spring. Our second annual PDC is taught in English every June and is attended by a great mixture of local residents and international students.
The other side of our education is undertaken informally, largely through the concept of ‘educate by doing’. If we can make organic techniques work for us within the local context, then why shouldn’t our neighbours try the same techniques? If we can integrate fish, ducks, livestock, and horticulture, then perhaps others can too.
We’ve also used employment to educate. What better way for our neighbours to learn about composting, fish farming and simple water management, than to actually assist in their construction and see the many benefits of their operation.
We could have used an excavator to construct our fish ponds - but then, the construction of the pond would have appeared unachievable to our neighbours. By paying our neighbours to dig them by hand, we’ve not only created employment. We’ve created empowerment in the realisation that they can achieve this themselves. So we end up with our fish ponds, and our neighbours end up with the motivation and knowledge to dig their own - which is happening already!
We also ensure that our education, and the systems that we choose to use, enhance other educational opportunities throughout the wider community. There are many techniques for organic farming. We choose to use the locally taught bio-intensive agriculture techniques, so we continue to enhance community education without confusing the issue by introducing a different technique.
Through living at Kesho Leo, our residents are learning and adopting many useful and sustainable living skills through their daily life. By educating our residents and neighbours, we are creating the ‘pebble in the pond’ ripple effect as they pass their knowledge on to the wider community.
Want to learn more about permaculture?
Why not attend one of our PDC (Permaculture Design Certificate) courses in Tanzania?